Reservations are a must at this off-the-beaten-path Chinese restaurant in Richmond.

This tiny hidden restaurant is devoted to the ideals of old-moneyed Hong Kong private-club dining, where restraint and simplicity are paramount and classic techniques build vigorous and fresh flavours. When chef Yiu Tong Leung (who is well into his 70s) retires, this particular school of Cantonese cooking will retire with him.

Sweet and sour pork is a litmus test of cooking skill, and with a brightly balanced sauce and crisp pork shoulder to provide snap, Hoitong’s version is superlative. Salt-baked locally raised Asian-breed chicken has a depth of flavour absent from modern industrial poultry. The kitchen excels at delicate egg dishes: fried milk studded with fresh crab and pine nuts is softly set with egg whites, and the bitter melon omelette frittata is considered a must-order. But beware—bitter melon is bitter. The walls are lined with pictures of the restaurant’s signature dishes, convenient for point-and-eat ordering.

Reservations are a must and choosing a later seating ensures a more leisurely experience. Among serious Chinese-food devotees, dining at Hoitong is considered a rite of passage. So do yourself a favour, and go. Now.


8191 Westminster Hwy. 604-276-9229